I've been marginally successful with my grand plan to work on STL before engaging in hired pen work. Or laundry. Or hanging bookshelves. Or watering the zucchini. Okay, maybe a little less than marginally successful. Would you believe less unsuccessful than typically?
One thing I did realize, a lovely epiphany in the early morning sun of my front porch, is that I need to add another narrative element to the second part of my book. As with the first part, I need to alternate between backstory and present day, mostly because there is too much unexperienced inference between Frances and her siblings without it. I realized during the writing of the tree-cutting scene that there is no context for Frances's relationships with her various brothers and sisters, so the reader can't sink into the scene with a sense of alarm, nostalgia, pathos, etc… Also, with so many characters and not much previous purchase on their characterizations, it's easy to get lost in this raucous tree-cutting scene—easy to forget who's who.
Also, Frances's vulnerability is not quite on the page yet, and there's nothing like a few humiliating scenes from adolescence to sew that up.
I've decided to pepper this backstory stuff in, presenting small scenes that feature some significant interactions between Frances and Collin, Frances and Cherry, Frances and Tess, Frances and Morgan and Frances and the grand fuck up, Sheldon.
The Collin chapter is proving an invigorating engagement—there are some secrets being revealed—to me—as I write it.